Johann Zarco 'confused' by French MotoGP pole lap

Tech 3 Yamaha's Johann Zarco says he was "confused" when he saw the laptime that secured him pole position for the MotoGP race at Le Mans

Johann Zarco 'confused' by French MotoGP pole lap

Zarco secured a home pole with a mammoth 1m31.185s effort late on, smashing Jorge Lorenzo's erstwhile lap record by almost eight tenths.

The Frenchman said he was caught out by the laptime, and even admitted that the surprise hampered his final run in Q2.

"I felt on my first [run] with the first new tyre that the first lap you can have some extra performance, but I was not able to use it well," said Zarco.

"A 1m31.6s was already not bad, I was happy, and then for the second [run] I say 'okay, try to do this first lap as well as possible'.

"And when I saw this laptime on the dashboard, I didn't really believe it, I was even wondering if it's a good time, I was a bit confused.

"I tried to do it again next lap but was, almost because of the surprise of the lap before, [it was] difficult to repeat it."

As the chequered flag flew, Zarco watched rival Marc Marquez's final attempt on the big screens around the track - as the Spaniard came up just a tenth short of pole.

"I had [already passed] the chequered flag, I saw my name in pole position, I saw the crowd was quite happy - but then I was looking on the screen and seeing Marc [Marquez], that he was pushing," Zarco recalled.

"And you are thinking that, if he's the only one that the camera is filming, maybe he's going fast. I said 'second is going to be nice anyway' but, no, was pole position."

Le Mans marked Zarco's fourth premier-class pole, but his previous three did not yield a race finish higher than eighth - and he's still chasing a first MotoGP win.

But Zarco's race pace has been strong throughout practice, and he is convinced he is edging ever closer to a maiden victory.

"I'm happy that we're working well and here it's almost easier to find the pace compared to other tracks, because we don't feel a big drop [in] the tyre.

"So it can be an advantage for me, for the Yamaha guys, that we are not struggling with that.

"Marc [Marquez] is the strong guy at the moment, but we cannot expect someone [will be] stronger than the other one - just go, try to lead the race, would be good at the beginning to have less risk as possible in the group, and then see what happens to fight for the victory.

"But every weekend I feel [there's] more chance to catch the victory."

shares
comments
Maverick Vinales wishes MotoGP's French GP started at 9am Sunday

Previous article

Maverick Vinales wishes MotoGP's French GP started at 9am Sunday

Next article

Cal Crutchlow could miss French MotoGP race after qualifying crash

Cal Crutchlow could miss French MotoGP race after qualifying crash
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Johann Zarco
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Valentin Khorounzhiy
Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return? Plus

Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Plus

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Plus

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021
Has Yamaha banished its demons with its 2021 MotoGP bike? Plus

Has Yamaha banished its demons with its 2021 MotoGP bike?

Against the expected run of play at Qatar's Losail circuit, both Yamaha riders Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo carved through a resolute Ducati defence to secure back-to-back MotoGP wins for the Japanese marque. After a difficult 2020, it appears that Yamaha has swaggered back into championship contention

MotoGP
Apr 5, 2021
Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP Plus

Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP

Lightning hasn't struck twice for Maverick Vinales since 2017 and his wayward form of recent years makes predicting how he'll fare each MotoGP race weekend tricky. But fresh from his Qatar GP win, Vinales looks like an even more dangerous prospect for the Doha GP following an intriguing Friday practice

MotoGP
Apr 3, 2021
Why MotoGP’s new Amazon series is long overdue Plus

Why MotoGP’s new Amazon series is long overdue

OPINION: MotoGP is getting its own version of Drive to Survive on Amazon Prime at some point in the near future. It was news welcomed by the grid’s leading riders. And following the impact DTS has had on Formula 1, MotoGP desperately needs the same boost.

MotoGP
Mar 31, 2021
Did the Qatar GP hint at Ducati’s true MotoGP leader? Plus

Did the Qatar GP hint at Ducati’s true MotoGP leader?

OPINION: Johann Zarco talked a big game pre-season, and is so far vindicating himself as a factory rider at Pramac after finishing the Qatar GP as top Ducati in second. And contrasting his and Jack Miller's weekends and their approaches, is Zarco emerging as Ducati's true MotoGP leader?

MotoGP
Mar 30, 2021
The key changes behind the latest 'return of the Mack' Plus

The key changes behind the latest 'return of the Mack'

Maverick Vinales’s authoritative victory at the MotoGP season opener came during a period of personal and professional change for the Yamaha rider. Can it be the springboard for a title challenge?

MotoGP
Mar 29, 2021